Columbus Zoo welcomes polar bear cub on Thanksgiving day

Posted at 8:06 PM, Nov 29, 2019

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium had something extra-special to be thankful for on Thursday: the birth of a bouncing baby polar bear.

Polar bear cubs spend the first months of their lives denned up and bonding up with their mothers, so zookeepers don’t know the baby’s sex yet, and visitors won’t be able to see the family on display until spring.

In a video posted Friday to the zoo’s Facebook page, mother bear Aurora snuggles with the tiny cub in a den of straw. Thursday’s birth was her fourth — her other cubs, Nora, Neva and Nuniq, live at different zoos across the country.

Aurora’s twin sister, Anana, is at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Although Anana has shown some behaviors typically associated with polar bear pregnancy, such as sleeping for over 16 hours each day in her private den, Cincinnati zookeepers aren’t sure if they’ll be welcoming a cub of their own before springtime.

That’s because no definitive polar bear pregnancy test exists. People who care for the world’s biggest bears instead largely use behavioral cues, blood samples and stool analysis to make educated guesses about whether a female is expecting.

Denning up is one of the signs of pregnancy, but Anana did that last year, too, and no cub ever emerged. She might just like having time off.